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Finding the Picture with Brooks Jensen

Finding Where to Stand

These red pillars are a ubiquitous feature of Chinese temples and I knew I wanted to have a photograph of them. I kept defaulting to this angle of view where the pillar is half in sun and half in shadow. Full sun would lose the three-dimensionality, so I figured this would give me the best chance of rendering them as round pillars. I half a dozen compositions of various pillars at various buildings, all with this half/half sun/shadow angle. I'm not unhappy with them, but they just seem to lack the drama I would prefer they have.

As I walked around this particular building, I just happened to glance back at the pillars and saw this terrific rim light against the shadow of the building across the way. I realized it wasn't the pillars that were the subject, but rather the spaces between them — and the light — that made that space come alive. Once I was back home and looking at the images, I also realized that the first version seemed to flatten the space between the pillars and the wall behind them. Adding the additional detail of the painted designs at the top of the vertical version also helped make it a more interesting image.

I guess the real lesson here is how I had locked-on to the idea of the half-sun half-shadow concept and once that was in my thoughts, I was missing the more obvious solution. A good example of the advantages of staying flexible and why we should just keep looking.

Tech data:

Panasonic G1 using a Panasonic 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens at 36mm. ISO 100. f/8 at 1/500th sec.